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Blog
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Twelve Years of Christmas in Chicago

Christmas really is about giving and receiving. One Christmas gift I never thought about receiving till Army time was the forgiveness that the Christ child was born to give by giving up his life.

Pastors
Blog
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Christmas in the Rear-view Mirror

The week before Christmas was supposed to be easy. On my Monday off I took a pick-up load of scrap metal to Adelstein’s Recycling and pocketed $129.60; more than paid for stocking stuffers for the children and grandchildren who would start trickling in on Wednesday. They’d stay till December 27. Menus were planned, groceries bought.

Pastors
Blog
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An R-Rated Epiphany Story

The names in Matthew 1:1-17 give a thumbnail sketch of Jesus’ family. Don’t skip them; look up their names and stories in the Bible. All in some way point to or reveal Jesus, who redeems people and the world from sin. But some point very crookedly. 

Pastors
Blog
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Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Snow: Church Services in Any Weather

If you have any doubts that technology is helping people and communities in ways that haven't been done before, check out this story. A preacher cancelled the Sunday worship service because of inclement weather. However this didn't stop him from having a service since he streamed the service from his house onto the church's website via Ustream.

Church Communications
Blog
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Mental Illness, Isolation, and Ministry

The discussion last week after my post about the Tucson shooting brought home to me all the more clearly that mental illnesses do not affect “those people” over there, but they are us. Pejorative labels like “crazy” and “whacko” only reinforce this separation or stigma which hovers over people with mental illnesses. But the people who live with mental illness are not just those with the disease itself, but also their family members, friends, fellow church members, and society as a whole.

Disability Concerns
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Do you Take Your Classis to the Doctor?

Over the past several years many churches have had check-ups of sorts to look for points of health and places that need work (Natural Church Development surveys, Healthy Churches surveys, WillowCreek Reveal survey, etc.). But when it comes to classes we often just keep going with the way things have always been. We don’t bother to check the health and vitality of this mid-level of church life.

Classis
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Try It This Week: Musical Prayers

This activity involves making up a prayer to the tune of a song you know. This is great for kids who are musical or who love to move around, and it works as an individual or a group prayer activity. It also lends itself to a broader conversation about worship and prayer.

Children's Ministry
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Stop: Do Not Pass By

Most of us are busy.  We hardly have time to keep up with the relationships around us. That is not surprising.  The simple math of relationships – family, friends, coworkers, church attendees and a host of other regular passing acquaintances – are enough.  With these we fail to keep up.  Most busy people are not looking for more. 

Elders
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Weight, Health and the Elder

It started when watching the reality TV series called “Village on a Diet” (CBC- Canada).  I had a fleeting thought about “church on a diet.”  I know it is the time of the year, but perhaps there is more...

Elders
Blog
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Need Some Advice? Check Out These Great Resources

An advantage to working in a large office or in a large company is that you are usually part of a team that has overlap in responsibilities or knowledge. This makes it easier to collaborate and to seek out advice and ideas. Unfortunately this isn't the case in most churches which makes it more difficult to get fresh new ideas, and sometimes just get it all done! Here are some great resources if you're stuck.

Church Communications
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Con-cent: When Your Consent Isn't Worth a Penny

Although it does vary, in most states and provinces, the age of consent is 16. Below age 16, a minor is regarded as unable to give consent; 16 or older and the minor is regarded as able to give consent. That does not mean, however, that everyone who is of age to give consent to sexual acts has given consent ... 

Safe Church
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Covenant and Motivation in Church Life

I just finished hearing Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.  I couldn’t resist the title.  For those who confess that all people are “inclined toward all evil”, a book on irrational behavior might just provide an interesting take on the human heart.  And indeed it did.  

Elders
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The Power of Story Telling

I love to read stories about what other churches are doing in their communities - especially when they teach and inspire me to think about what MY church could do!  Stories can be resources by themselves AND they can lead the way to MORE resources - especially these stories from CFA!

Deacons
Blog
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Cleaning House

I find myself asking the hard questions as I open the door to each room in my life — what needs to go into the garbage bag?  What needs to be moved into another room and what room needs to be locked for good?

Youth Ministry
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Looking to Deacons to Lead

In the years that I've been observing deacons in the CRCNA, my impression is that we don't really expect much leadership from our deacons.  We have all kinds of reasons for this, but the fact is that it is the exception when deacons give intentional leadership to the congregation. 

Deacons
Blog
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Developing Spiritual Habits

I will never forget something Lymen Coleman said at my first Serendipity Small Group conference.  You can only lead a group as far as you've gone yourself.  How true that is.  Anytime I've struggled as a leader, I've come to realize...

Small Groups
Blog
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Jesus in Every Book of the Bible--and on the Internet!

We hear a lot about wicked and dangerous stuff on the internet. But God is the Lord of all technology, including the internet, which can be used for much good. I'm going to invite you to check a four-minute video below of an enthusiastic eleven-year old boy powerfully declaiming in a service at Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, Texas. (If the introductory frame actually introduces the speaker, he is Jack Stockton.) Here young Jack he names all 66 Bible books, mentioning briefly how each book reveals Jesus.

Pastors

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